This open, shared space is what lures many people to the timber home lifestyle in the first place. Images of family time spent around a game board or sharing a bottle of wine in front of a cozy fire are definitely a draw, but smart planning goes a long way to long-term satisfaction with your great room. Window size and placement are fundamental considerations, but also decide what furniture you’ll use before you lay it out. And avoid poor traffic flow just because you needed three more inches to fit your sofa against a wall.
For most families, the great room’s true focal point isn’t the fireplace but the television, so Salant believes you should begin this room’s layout with TV placement. Plan how to avoid glare on the screen without having to close curtains and block the outside view.
Trophy great rooms with huge ceilings are out, according to Kylloe. “Human beings are social creatures, so keep ceilings low to foster intimacy and create warmth,” he says.
With his architect’s eye, Carr suggests making the great room’s width and length nearly the same, then treating the space as four quadrants with differing functions: cooking, eating, view seating and fireplace seating/game space.
“Be sure an adjoining deck or porch doesn’t obstruct your view,” warns Lippert. “Consider eliminating view-blocking balusters and opt for clear, tempered glass instead.”